Chihuly Desert Towers and desert marigolds at the entrance to DBG.
I hadn't been for a good wander the DBG since early November. Winter is a bit slow for DBG birding, apart from our usual desert feathered friends.
The ever-feisty Cactus Wren on a bug hunting mission.
And it seems that in my cranky middle age, I have a bit less patience for the frustrated theatrical informative docents and screaming enthusiastic schoolchildren, both of which scare off all wildlife within earshot.
A Lesser Goldfinch guarding the bath.
But Thursday morning I set off for the DBG in hopes that this might be an off-week for garden visitors, it being post-Fiesta Bowl and all.
Red-tailed Hawk mates on the butte.
And indeed Thursday's was a peaceful and fruitful visit, so much so that I went again Friday morning.
Aloes in full bloom in the succulent house.
Some characters seemed not to have moved a bit
Western Screech Owl sleeping in the morning sunshine.
while others decided to show their stuff.
Red-tail showing its form to its mate.
And that's the fun of the DBG, because even in winter
Great Horned Owl napping in the cottonwoods.
you never know who might surprise you from one day to the next.
* * * * *
2012 is off to a great start at the DBG!
You can see my (small, for now) new 2012 DBG Flickr slideshow here, or click through the set starting here. Newest photos will be added at the beginning, so if you ever check back again, you won't have to endure reruns.
She was actually here all day last Saturday, and then gone by the next morning.
John first noticed her around 8 a.m. at the orange Mexican Bird of Paradise shrub just outside our back fence.
We immediately recognized by her brown belly markings that she was different from our usual hummingbirds, so I set about taking photos to try to ID her.
It was not a quick project, but a good excuse to just sit in the backyard with binoculars and camera at hand.
For most of the day, she visited for a few minutes every half hour or so, quietly making her way around the plant.
She never came into the yard to visit our nectar feeders, even though they were nearby and in plain view.
She appeared to rest in a tree farther out across the wash (desert ravine) when she wasn't feeding.
She was shy of us coming close, so I had to take photos from a distance, aiming between the bars of the fence.
Late in the day, as the sun began to disappear over the mountains, she visited more often, finally attracting the notice of one of our backyard bully Costa's males.
He challenged her, and they had a few aerial skirmishes, but she held her ground and continued to visit till the sun had set.
We were not entirely surprised that she was gone Sunday morning.
We were just glad that she had shared her tiny beauty with us for a day, and reminded us of the value of quietly sitting and looking and sometimes, if we're lucky, seeing something very fleeting and very special.
She was a female Calliope Hummingbird, uncommon in our area, migrating south to warmer climates for the winter.
Yesterday I finally made it back to the Desert Botanical Garden, after several long months' heat/humidity-induced hiatus. (Translation: I'm a Phoenix summer wimp.)
Just through the entry gate, I was greeted by this giant praying mantis sculpture. It was the first of many of David Rogers' Big Bugs I encountered throughout the DBG. Pretty amazing!
There were flocks of goldfinches, quail, and even our local wild-adapted lovebirds enjoying the late summer seed bounty. I've updated my DBG Flickr set with the newest photos -- you can see the slideshow here, or click through the set here.
Now that our weather is moderating, I hope to be back at the DBG often.
we had arrived in Evanston and were walking from the hotel to our friend Bob's house, when we took a quick detour through the Rose Garden (officially the Merrick Rose Garden) at Lake Street and Oak Avenue, just two blocks from where we'd lived long ago.
John is a good sport when the camera in my hand gets the better of my attention. After his own tour of the roses (they were in fine bloom) he took my bag and sat off in a quiet corner, checking his Blackberry to pass the time. He never complains about my photo delays and detours.
Anyway, here's a link to the Flickr photo slideshow of our 48 hours in & around Evanston, more nostalgic than artistic for me. Wish now I'd taken more photos, but I guess we were busy taking it all in, which is as it should be.
Sixteen years was far too long to be away from the Chicago Botanic Garden. But we finally squeezed in a visit yesterday morning -- a side trip to our whirlwind weekend in Evanston, where we lived long ago in our pre-kids days. The weather was perfect, the garden was more spectacular than ever, and I even spotted a few favorite birds. You can see my short CBG Flickr slideshow here, or click through the photo set yourself here.
Now I remember why I used to visit the garden often when we lived in Chicagoland. What an amazing and beautiful pIace.